One Day in, and the University of Louisville Scandal is Already Generating Great Headlines.


“[Did] Salaita [do] her in, or was it the athletic scandals? Obviously athletics is far more important than academics…”

A commenter wonders which of Phyllis Wise’s many challenges and screw-ups might have pushed her recent appointment as University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chancellor over the edge. She has just announced her resignation.

UIUC certainly does know how to pick ’em. Let us not forget Richard Herman.


UD thanks Wendy.


Here’s what UD considers an appropriate headline for Wise’s departure, highlighting her main accomplishment:

Nike Board Member Phyllis Wise Resigns as Illinois Chancellor

“Ingham then mocked the man for attending Mary Washington College, once an all-women’s school …”

Whew! Just in time. UD was madly enjoying reading this story, and wanted to share it with you, but wasn’t finding any connection to universities until, toward the end of the piece, bingo!


A medical ethicist at Northwestern University has a great comment:

[This was] a cheap excuse to have a laugh at a powerless person’s expense.

UD has long been interested in the theme of cruelty. This story seems to her a very pure instance of the phenomenon of cruelty.

UD discovers a wonderful portmanteau word…

… created by an unintentionally creative headline writer in the News and Observer:


The writer means MESMERIZING (the term is derived from Franz Anton Mesmer), and his double mistake – Z instead of S; O instead of E – creates a thing of beauty, a word that combines the idea of being riveted, entranced by something with the idea of not being able to forget it (memorize). That form of remembrance which is so strong as to be mesmerizing we can now call mezmorizing.

No doubt the poor writer will correct the headline once ridicule and abuse set in; but UD loves the word, and hopes the newspaper retains it.


Poo. They fixed it.

Headline of the Day.


Husbanding your compost…

… or vice versa.

That took no time at all.

Instantly after the publication of the Columbia School of Journalism report (everyone’s calling it “scathing”) about the University of Virginia rape article in Rolling Stone, the fraternity announces a defamation suit against RS.

If you want to get a sense of what their odds of winning are, here’s Eugene Volokh.

“[I]t is worth resisting the temptation to think that some new regulation or device can offer perfect protection against calculated malice.”

Unfortunately, none can.

James Fallows, on the Germanwings crash.

La France Impuissante

Strauss-Kahn Denies ‘Frenetic’ Activity at Alleged Sex Parties

Aggravated Pimping…

Orgies Sans Frontières… The DSK trial is already turning out to be a gold mine for language lovers.

“‘Banning the burqa’ is really just a matter of public security and common sense.”


Many shots fired inside Canadian Parliament.

A Globe and Mail reporter in Centre Block on Parliament Hill tweeted that the building was under lockdown after “at least one shooter burst in and opened fire”.

One member of parliament, Mark Strahl, tweeted from inside parliament: “Very tense situation in Ottawa this morning. Multiple gun shots fired outside of our caucus room. I am safe and in lockdown. Unbelievable.”


Apparently multiple gunmen.

Veteran Affairs Minister Julian Fantino told QMI Agency that Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms shot one gunman dead.

“All the details are not in, but the sergeant-at-arms, a former Mountie, is the one that engaged the gunman, or one of them at least, and stopped this,” Fantino said from inside Centre Block. “He did a great job and, from what I know, shot the gunman and he is now deceased.”


New Democrat MP Hélène Laverdière said she heard 20 to 30 shots, and hit the floor. She and fellow MPs Charlie Angus and Rosane Doré Lefebvre were later led out of the Centre Block to safety.


The University of Ottawa has been put on lockdown…

The University as a Warehouse for Rich People, and the University as a Warehouse for Poor People.

I hope most of us can agree that these two outcomes would be less than optimal.

Yet the hard-headed report just issued by the Education Trust suggests that we’re certainly headed there. Fancy schmancy schools don’t take in enough Pell Grant people and risk becoming gilded ghettos. Why should the American taxpayer subsidize that? Trailer park techs take in little besides poor people, many of whom never graduate. The students default on their big government grants. Why should we subsidize that?

So, reasonably enough, the authors of this report argue that if after a certain number of years a university can’t graduate anyone, or a university graduates only the sort of people who need little help from us to pay for their education, we should withdraw tax support from those places.

I’ll have more to say about this in a few moments. Ne quittez pas.


Hokay. Here’s the deal. It’s a great report – clearly written, tough-minded. The authors are correct that – since accreditation agencies won’t do their bit and shut down drop-out factories like Texas Southern University, a school the Education Trust report features – the federal government needs to shut them down via refusal of tax subsidies. Certainly the free market is doing its bit – enrollment at schools like Texas Southern is tanking – but, hard as this is to believe, it’s true that Texas Southern University and the many schools like it will continue to exist until the heat death of the universe. They will continue to function with only faculty, administrators, and football players. They will mutter vaguely about online programs or something.

And why will they continue to exist?

Look no further than Garnet F. Coleman. There’s a Garnet in every crowd, the local pol who believes in the “strong status of our proud institution, Texas Southern University” and makes sure hapless taxpayers keep throwing their money down a hole. Garnet thinks it’s fine that TSU is incredibly ineptly (and sometimes corruptly) run; fine that its athletic program (why does a school like this have athletics at all?) is deeply in debt, blahblahblah… Because TSU does so much good by failing to graduate students whom it burdens with lifelong debt…

In one of its more shameful editorial decisions, the New York Times two years ago agreed to play along with this madness. Sent a reporter down there who, without comment, quoted TSU’s president saying this:

He said his administration is taking a more hands-on, student-centric approach that should improve academic achievement, which he said had not previously received sufficient attention. Despite what the graduation rates suggest, Mr. Rudley said the campus is in the midst of a renaissance.

The reporter also gushed about new campus buildings, better maintenance of public spaces, etc. Yes, a renaissance was happening right now.

Or in a minute or two. Be patient, be patient.

The Education Trust people now introduce the startling proposal that we no longer wait, that we acknowledge the wasteful scandal of schools like TSU and shut them down.

Texas Southern University … fell in the bottom 5 percent of all institutions on graduation rates in 2011, graduating only 11.8 percent of its full-time freshmen within six years of initial enrollment. Some 80 percent of Texas Southern’s freshmen are from low-income families (i.e., Pell Grant recipients); 90 percent are from underrepresented minority grants and many are weakly prepared for college, with a median SAT score of 800 out of 1600 and an average high school GPA of 2.7. But so too are the students at Tennessee State University and North Carolina Central University, yet they graduate at rates more than three times as high (35.5 percent and 38.4 percent, respectively). In fact, Texas Southern performs at the very bottom of its closest 15 peer institutions and has for many years.


Then there’s the other end of the problem: Rich kid schools.

Middlebury College in Vermont, for example, in 2011 fell in the bottom 5 percent of all colleges in its enrollment of low-income students: 10 percent. Yet equally selective institutions like Amherst College and Vassar College enrolled more than twice as many low-income students, 23 and 27 percent respectively. We see the same variation in the public sector. The University of Virginia, which ranks in the bottom 5 percent on service to low-income students, enrolled only 13 percent Pell students in 2011, whereas the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and the State University of New York at Binghamton enrolled 20 and 26 percent Pell students…

And here’s a fascinating mystery:

There are high-achieving, low-income students whose academic credentials place them well within the band of elite colleges’ current admission standards but who for a variety of reasons do not apply to or enroll in these selective institutions. Nearly two-thirds of low-income students with high grades and SAT scores do not attend the most selective institutions for which they are qualified, compared with just over one-quarter of high-income students with similar academic credentials.

Counterintuitive, huh? You’re a genius from Missoula but you don’t go to Harvard, which is desperate for you. Why not?

Well, begin by reading this essay by Walter Kirn, a kid from Minnesota who accepted an offer of admission from Princeton. Although UD has difficulty believing the story Kirn tells about being kidnapped by a castle-dweller, she finds the rest of his account of being middle-class at Princeton credible. Not only were these four years of social hell – of being made to feel poor and outcast – they were intellectual hell as well, as Kirn tells it.

We laughed at the notion of “authorial intention” and concluded, before reading even a hundredth of it, that the Western canon was illegitimate, an expression of powerful group interests that it was our sacred duty to transcend — or, failing that, to systematically subvert. In this rush to adopt the latest attitudes and please the younger and hipper of our instructors … we skipped straight from ignorance to revisionism, deconstructing a body of literary knowledge that we’d never constructed in the first place.

“Brad Martin, a fourth-year anthropology major said his girlfriend was walking to his house when she was approached by the shooters. ‘She is absolutely hysterical, and so she tells me that these guys pulled up and said hey what’s up. She turned and looked and they had a gun and she wasn’t sure if it was a real gun or a fake gun or what type of gun it was … She said the next second he raised it up to her face … and she turned around and started running. That’s when she heard bang bang bang right behind her as she was running, and she could feel the wind hitting her hair from the power of the gunshot from less than five feet away from the car.'”

“Premeditated mass murder” just outside one of America’s most idyllic, envied campuses.

The statement in my headline comes from an article in The Daily Nexus, the UC Santa Barbara student newspaper.


Update: There was only one shooter.

[A] YouTube video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” appeared to be connected to the killing spree.

In the video, a young man sits behind the wheel of a parked car and rants about how he’s been ignored by women at UCSB and that his sexual advances have been rejected. He promises to go to Isla Vista on Friday night to seek revenge against women — especially sorority members — by slaughtering them.

Rodger’s Facebook page indicates he’s from Calabasas, and shows him sitting in a black BMW coupe.

The gunman’s car was a black BMW coupe.


My searching around online suggests the shooter may have been the son of a Los Angeles-based film director/photographer.


A somewhat similar act of femicide.


Confirmation: The shooter is the son of Peter Rodger, “a special unit director on The Hunger Games and director of Oh My God, a documentary the screened during the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.”


There are of course also similarities to the Virginia Tech massacre: A mentally disturbed young man of college age makes an angry video promising revenge on a world that has disrespected him; he then gets a gun and starts shooting in areas full of college students.


Incredibly, it gets worse. The shooter stabbed his three roommates to death before he began shooting near UC Santa Barbara.



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